BT faces rival cheap mobile calls service

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MERCURY One-2-One, the mobile telephone service launched last year, is offering to undercut BT's standard call charges by up to 25 per cent in an attempt to lure people away from the fixed wire phone, writes Mary Fagan.

The new service is aimed primarily at small and medium businesses. Although the calls can be much cheaper than those made via BT, the One-2-One monthly standing charge of pounds 22.49 is twice the equivalent fee levied by BT.

One-2-One said that a three- minute daytime local call will cost 9p compared with 13p on BT's standard business tariff. A three-minute national call would be 21p against BT's 25p. The comparison is incomplete because BT offer so many options and discount packages.

City analysts said that users of the new service would have to make a large number of calls to justify leaving the fixed network.

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